When: Saturday, November 5, 7:00 p.m.
Opponent: vs. Montreal (5-5-2)
UPDATE: The Rangers officially agreed to terms with defenseman Anton Stralman. (2:23 p.m.)
UPDATE: Lundqvist will be in net for the Rangers, who will wear their Heritage jerseys for the first time this season. (11:48 a.m.)
EARLIER: October was an odd month for the New York Rangers, but
Halloween and the start of November have represented a change on Broadway.
The Blueshirts have slowly but surely begun to rediscover
their blue-collar identity and are showing signs of gelling into the legitimate
playoff team many expected them to be prior to the season.
New York has been led by its trademark strong goaltending,
but the Blueshirts have also benefitted tremendously from the strong play of
their young defense:
“We don’t talk about it enough,” Coach John Tortorella said
after Thursday’s game. “Ryan McDonagh,
you can see his confidence growing and growing in all facets, offensively he’s
trying to push. Michael Sauer is in the
way. Dan Girardi we know about as far as
what he can do. Michael Del Zotto is a
very important guy for us right now and what’s happened with our defense and I
think he’s progressed nicely.”
The defense has been solid all season, but the Rangers are
also slowly starting to receive some supplemental scoring for their big guns
and the result is that the team now boasts a two-game home winning streak.
New York has a back-to-back this weekend with two winnable
games against Montreal and Winnipeg, both of which struggled out of the gate
but have picked up their play of late.
The Canadiens always seem to give the Rangers trouble and
won three of the four games between these teams a season ago.
This year Montreal appeared to be a team in decline, but the
Canadiens picked up their fourth-straight win last night over the Ottawa
The Canadiens are buoyed by star goalie Carey Price, but
Montreal sorely misses star defenseman Andrei Markov, who’s out with a knee
injury yet again. Surprisingly, the
Canadiens have boasted a fairly balanced attack this season and have nine
players with two goals or more.
Montreal has allowed just five goals during its current
winning streak, with Price in net each time including Friday night. That means that there’s a decent chance
career backup Peter Budaj will be in net on Saturday.
New York has more team speed than in recent years and thus
should be better equipped to handle Montreal’s small but swift attack, but it
all comes down to the question of whether New York can play its game.
For nearly 60 minutes against
San Jose on Monday the Rangers controlled the play and dominated one of the
league’s best teams. On Thursday night,
the Blueshirts’ relentless forecheck assault pinned
Anaheim deep for the first 20 minutes of the game when the Ducks only had
two shots on goal.
If that swarming version of the 2011-2012 Rangers shows up
on Saturday, New York could easily extend its winning streak to three games.
But consistency has been a major issue this season, so the
key for Tortorella’s squad will be to avoid falling into the bad habits that
put his team in an early hole.
New York must focus on playing the same way and that means
no more bad penalties, slow starts, stretches of coasting, or failure to
generate pressure offensively.
If the Blueshirts continue to avoid those pitfalls, then
November could be smooth sailing.
- Wojtek Wolski underwent an
MRI on his wonky groin Friday and won’t play tomorrow, so Sean Avery will
make his triumphant return to the lineup.
- Mike Rupp is scheduled to have
arthroscopic surgery on his knee next week, a procedure that typically
keeps a player out of action for three-to-four weeks.
- The timeline for Marc Staal’s recovery remains
- Reports prior to Thursday’s game indicated that defenseman Anton
Stralman had signed with the Rangers, but the contract has yet to
Conference Preview > (10/3/11)
Conference Preview > (10/4/11)
Predict Where The Rangers Will Finish > (10/5/11)
Rangers Season Preview > (10/5/11)
Claim Jeff Woywitka Off Waivers > (10/6/11)
King” Vs. The Kings In Season-Opener > (10/7/11)
Doom Rangers In OT Loss To Kings > (10/7/11)
Duck Anaheim, Rangers Must Stay Out Of The Box > (10/7/11)
Offense, But Rangers Pick Up Another Point > (10/8/11)
Erixon Will Stick Around For The Time Being > (10/9/11)
Learned: Two Games In The Books > (10/10/11)
To Move Stepan To First-Line Left Wing > (10/10/11)
Show Early Improvement With Faceoffs > (10/11/11)
Vinny > (10/13/11)
Must Find A Way With Patchwork Defense > (10/14/11)
Top Line Shows Promise, But Rangers Have No Answer For John Tavares > (10/15/11)
To Chew On > (10/17/11)
Future On Broadway In Doubt > (10/17/11)
Must Slow The Sedins, Score Some Goals > (10/18/11)
Lundqvist Beats The Canucks, With A Little Help In The Third Period > (10/19/11)
Is Not Well In Ranger-land > (10/19/11)
Slow Start Might Not Cut It Against Calgary > (10/19/11)
Scores Winner With Just Over 1 Second Remaining In OT >(10/20/11)
Path To New York Is Clearing Quickly For Carl Hagelin And Ryan Bourque > (10/21/11)
Seek Third Win In A Row Against Renney’s Crew > (10/22/11)
Averted As Rangers Are Shutout By Edmonton > (10/23/11)
Road Trip Concludes In Winnipeg On Monday > (10/24/11)
To Chew On > (10/24/11)
Parts Of The Recipe Change And New York Wins > (10/24/11)
Learned: Seven Games In The Books > (10/26/11)
Cookin’ At Last > (10/27/11)
Great Goaltending, New York Had No Chance > (10/27/11)
Minutes > (10/28/11)
Blow Three-Goal Lead And Lose In Shootout > (10/29/11)
Rangers To Recall Sean Avery > (10/30/11)
For Offense > (10/31/11)
To Chew On > (10/31/11)
Rangers Rip Sharks > (11/1/11)
Bulletin's Bull of the Month: Henrik Lundqvist > (11/1/11)
Hunt For A Veteran Defenseman Continues > (11/2/11)
Hunting > (11/2/11)
Gaborik Scores Shootout Winner To Give Rangers Second-Straight Win > (11/3/11)
Avery Has Had An Interesting Month > (11/4/11)
Rangers Host Climbing Canadiens In Penultimate Game Of Homestand > (11/5/11)
here for our full 2011-2012 Season Archive >
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